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Doing Your Art… Even Under Less-Than-Ideal Conditions

The days are colder and darker, and night falls earlier. We draw our coats close against the chill.

Sometimes our life or art goes through periods like this too. The dark times, the cold times. Do we stop creating at those times?

The trees have stopped bearing fruit and flower. They drop their leaves. Their branches are bare against the wind.

What about us, in times of sickness or trouble or uncertainty? In times when we are walking through darkness, not knowing what is next? 

Photo by Kimon Maritz on Unsplash

Rest is one answer. The body and soul need recuperation. Rest is part of the rhythm of life, like sleeping and waking.

And yet, we are creators still. Even during the dark times, our creative spirit is there. 

One of my clients is going through a tough time. She’s been diagnosed with something, and it’s scary and hard. There are teary days and tough days. 

And still, her artist self is strong. She’s channeling her emotions into her art, continuing with her creative work, day after day.

What I want you to know–what I want everyone to know–is that you don’t need the optimum conditions to create. 

What I want you to know is, you don’t need the optimum conditions to create. 

Your life doesn’t have to be completely in order, with your ideal income, the right childcare or household support, the perfect health or relationship or community or home. 

Yes, these things make it easier, and yes, we work towards them. 

But our art doesn’t have to wait. We are deeply creative beings. We create from the stuff of life. 

Masterpieces have been wrung from hardship, trauma, suffering… or from the mundane texture of everyday life.

Limitations can create a structure that inspires new brilliance. 

William Carlos Williams’ short poetic forms came about partly because he was a doctor and wrote his poems on prescription pads… and the Johnny Cash band developed their simple, distinctive guitar style because they didn’t have the skills to play something more complicated.

In mid-19th to 20th century Britain, the most privileged social groups were male, white, English, heterosexual, Christian, and bourgeois… yet of the most significant writers of that period, NOT ONE was a member of all those groups.

Your art comes from who you are. Who you are now–with your lived experiences, your privileges and oppressions, your wisdom and your “shortcomings,” your pain and your joy, your imperfect and human life.

You can do your art or writing or music right now… with what you have. 

It is enough, and you are enough.

P.S. If you need to develop your ability to do your creative work in the life you have, let’s connect. 

I’ve created the Artist in Action program to help talented, ambitious writers and artists do their work easily and consistently–even when they have full family lives, “commercial” work or day jobs, or a long history of dealing with creative blocks. 

If you want in, email me!

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